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Publication numberUS7491194 B1
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 10/771,557
Publication dateFeb 17, 2009
Filing dateFeb 3, 2004
Priority dateFeb 3, 2004
Fee statusLapsed
Publication number10771557, 771557, US 7491194 B1, US 7491194B1, US-B1-7491194, US7491194 B1, US7491194B1
InventorsDavid Oliwa
Original AssigneeDavid Oliwa
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Remote control valve for urine collection bag
US 7491194 B1
Abstract
A discreet apparatus for draining a urine collection bag worn by an incontinent person has an electrically operated drain valve coupled to a drain tube of the urine collection bag. A control device for remotely controlling the drain valve is adapted to be worn by the person. The control device is preferably disguised with an outward configuration resembling an article that is ordinarily carried or worn for other purposes.
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Claims(4)
1. An apparatus for draining a urine collection bag worn by a person comprising:
an electrically operated drain valve coupled to a drain tube of the urine collection bag;
a control device for remotely controlling the drain valve, the control device adapted to be worn by the person, the control device including a drain valve actuation control;
a housing for the control device, the housing including a clip for securing the housing to a belt or waistband and further including a simulated display window such that the housing resembles a pager;
a battery disposed within the housing for providing electrical power to operate the drain valve; and
a strap having a hook and loop closure dimensioned and configured to secure the drain valve to the ankle of the person,
wherein the control device is connected to the drain valve with a flexible flat wire cable.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the drain valve actuation control comprises a push-button switch.
3. An apparatus for draining a urine collection bag worn by a person comprising:
an electrically operated drain valve coupled to a drain tube of the urine collection bag;
a control device for remotely controlling the drain valve, the control device adapted to be worn by the person, the control device including a drain valve actuation control;
a housing for the control device, the housing including a clip for securing the housing to a belt or waistband and further including a simulated display window such that the housing resembles a pager;
a battery disposed within the housing for providing electrical power to operate the drain valve; and
a strap having a hook and loop closure dimensioned and configured to secure the drain valve to the ankle of the person,
wherein the control device is connected to the drain valve with a flexible wire cable.
4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the drain valve actuation control comprises a push-button switch.
Description
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to the collection of bodily waste. More particularly, the invention relates to urine collection bags worn by persons who are incontinent.

2. Background

Incontinence afflicts many persons, especially many who are confined to wheelchairs. Typically, such persons have a urine collection bag that is worn on the leg, commonly at or near the calf. Conventional collection bags have a drain tube to permit emptying of the contents. For many incontinent persons, particularly paraplegic and quadriplegic individuals, considerable effort is required to empty a collection bag. Often, the assistance of an attendant is required.

Because the difficulties associated with emptying conventional collection bags may reduce a person's independence and may also cause embarrassment, efforts have been made to provide incontinent persons, particularly those confined to wheelchairs, with a means for more conveniently draining a collection bag. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 3,931,650 discloses a disposal device for wheelchairs in which the collection bag drain tube is connected to a valve mounted on the wheelchair. The valve may be manually operated, as by a lever within reach of the wheelchair occupant, or may be electrically operated using a solenoid. The valve and control mechanism, being mounted to the wheelchair, is inherently conspicuous.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a discreet apparatus for draining a urine collection bag worn by an incontinent person, particularly such a person who is confined to a wheelchair. An electrically operated drain valve is coupled to a drain tube of the urine collection bag. A control device for remotely controlling the drain valve is adapted to be worn by the person. The control device is preferably disguised with an outward configuration resembling an article that is ordinarily carried or worn for other purposes, thereby concealing the true function of the device. Examples of such articles include a personal electronic device, such as a pager, cell phone or the like, a key fob, a belt buckle, a pen, a broach, a decorative pin, etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates the general configuration of a remote control valve in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a detailed view of the control device in FIG. 1.

FIGS. 3A-3D illustrate alternative control device configurations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

In the following description, for purposes of explanation and not limitation, specific details are set forth in order to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, it will be apparent to one skilled in the art that the present invention may be practiced in other embodiments that depart from these specific details. In other instances, detailed descriptions of well-known methods and devices are omitted so as to not obscure the description of the present invention with unnecessary detail.

FIG. 1 generally illustrates the present invention as it may be employed by a person 10 confined to a wheelchair 12. A urine collection bag 14, commonly called a “legbag”, is worn on the person's leg and is secured by strap 16. A catheter or other collection device drains into bag 14 through tube 18. Bag 14 drains through tube 20, which is connected to valve 22. A fine mesh filter may be incorporated within tube 20 or valve 22 to capture any stray materials.

Valve 22 is conveniently worn about the ankle and may be secured by an adjustable strap 24. Valve 22 is preferably enclosed within a soft padded case to prevent irritation of the person's skin. Strap 24 is also preferably made of a soft pliable material and may employ a hook and loop or other type of conventional closure device. An outlet tube 26 extends downwardly from valve 22 to a point just below the sole of the person's shoe.

Valve 22 is actuated by means of a low voltage solenoid. An electrical signal to operate the solenoid is sent from control device 28 through electrical cable 30. Cable 30 is preferably a flexible flat wire cable, which is able to withstand the daily abuse of being worn and protects the skin of the wearer by not leaving a “wire mark” on the skin, particularly near the waistband where cable 30 connects to control device 28. As will be explained more fully below, control device 28 may be disguised as a pager or similar personal electronic device that is commonly worn on a person's belt or waistband. Cable 30 preferably connects to device 28 at the rear thereof and is threaded over the belt or waistband to be routed through the pants leg to valve 22. It should be noted that the wheelchair-bound person would typically wear full-length pants, thereby concealing collection bag 14 and valve 22. Only outlet tube 26 would be visible below the pant cuff.

Valve 22 is preferably operated by a low voltage solenoid so that a suitable power source can be readily carried within control device 28 or within the enclosure for valve 22. The power source may comprise a disposable or rechargeable battery. For example, a 3.6 volt NiMH rechargeable battery may be used. Recharging may be accomplished with a conventional external charger or by means of a solar cell on device 28.

The fluid conducting portions of valve 22 are preferably constructed of materials that will not be corroded or otherwise degraded when conducting caustic fluids. Furthermore, the valve mechanism should be configured so that its sealing capability is not compromised by crystallization of the conducted fluid. The actuating solenoid should, of course, be compatible with the power source. The solenoid should also have a low holding current to maximize battery life. Assuming collection bag 14 has a capacity of 32 ounces and is elevated about one foot above valve 22, the valve is exposed to approximately 8.5 pounds of pressure. Thus, a relatively low force valve closure spring may be employed, thereby reducing the power required for actuation of the valve.

FIG. 2 is a detailed view of control device 28. As mentioned, the control device may be disguised as an article that a person might carry or wear for other purposes, such as a pager, cell phone or similar personal electronic device. Thus, the device may have a simulated display window 32. If a solar cell is used to maintain the charge of the power supply battery, the cell may be disposed within window 32. The device is secured to a belt or waistband with a clip 34 or other suitable means. Device 28, including clip 34, should be free of any sharp edges that might cause skin irritation or other discomfort.

Control device 28 includes a valve actuation control, such as a push button 36. A determined effort should be required to operate control 36 so that valve 22 is not inadvertently actuated, but the effort should not be so great as to be difficult for persons with limited manual strength or dexterity.

When it becomes necessary to empty to contents of collection bag 14, wheelchair 12 is maneuvered so that outlet tube 26 is positioned over a floor drain other suitable receptacle. Control 36 is then depressed to energize the solenoid for actuating valve 22. The dimensions of the fluid conducting path through valve 22 are preferably large enough to allow the contents of the collection bag, up to about 32 ounces, to completely drain within a reasonable period of time, such as 60 seconds or less.

In the foregoing description, control device 28 communicates with valve 22 via a wired connection 30. It will be appreciated that a wireless connection may also be employed using a radio frequency (RF) signal or other suitable means. In such case, control device 28 incorporates a small wireless transmitter and valve 22 incorporates a cooperating wireless receiver. Suitable transmitters and receivers for operating over short distances are well known. For example, a transmitter and receiver using the “Bluetooth” protocol may be employed. A wireless control device may be configured to resemble any of a variety of articles that are commonly carried or worn. For example, in addition to a personal electronic device as described above, the control device could be configured to resemble a key fob, belt buckle, pen, broach or decorative pin as shown in FIGS. 3A-3D, respectively.

It will be recognized that the above-described invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics of the disclosure. Thus, it is understood that the invention is not to be limited by the foregoing illustrative details, but rather is to be defined by the appended claims.

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US20090143232 *Jul 24, 2008Jun 4, 2009Nuevolution A/SMethod for synthesising templated molecules
US20090224171 *Jul 5, 2007Sep 10, 2009Verbokkem Arjan FSystem and Method for Controlling Elution from a Radioisotope Generator with Electronic Pinch Valves
US20140180260 *Nov 19, 2013Jun 26, 2014Edward J. MUELLERMethods related to a bagless catheter
Classifications
U.S. Classification604/327, 604/544, 604/353
International ClassificationA61M1/00, A61F5/457
Cooperative ClassificationA61F5/4405
European ClassificationA61F5/44E2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Oct 1, 2012REMIMaintenance fee reminder mailed
Feb 17, 2013LAPSLapse for failure to pay maintenance fees
Apr 9, 2013FPExpired due to failure to pay maintenance fee
Effective date: 20130217